Chase Customers, Not Clicks

You want to be a broke-ass blogger, don’t you? No, of course you don’t. But if the first metric you look at is page views, not sales — i.e. clicks, not customers — then you’re well on your way to broke-ass bloggerdom.

What’s sad is that a lot of of online business owners do pay more attention to vanity stats than fundamental business metrics. So if you can shift your mindset, you’ll be ahead of the curve.

Fortunately, Tom Martin is here on this week’s episode of The Lede with straight talk that every online business owner will benefit from hearing, understanding, and acting on.

In this episode, we discuss a variety of topics that Tom spoke about last week at Authority Intensive, including:

  • Has Tom recovered yet from Authority Intensive 2014?
  • Are Tom and Brian Clark still friends?
  • Why a click is a sign of interest, not a sign of intent
  • How your audience will make you famous, but your prospects will make you rich (and make your spouse happy)
  • Why does Tom think he caught hell for the “rich” comment?
  • Why you have to give before you ask to receive
  • What “second-click” content is, what it does, and how to use it
  • Why time is the only finite resource in the marketing toolbox

And, finally … are Aggies and Longhorns actually more alike than they care to admit?

[episode no=”66″]

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The Show Notes

And this little bone thrown Tom’s way, so he can remember the better times …

[episode_ad] [episode_transcript]

Please note that this transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and grammar.

The Lede Podcast: Chase Customers, Not Clicks

Jerod Morris: Welcome back to The Lede, a podcast about content marketing by Copyblogger Media. I’m your host, Jerod Morris.

This week the entire Copyblogger family is in recovery mode. Why? Because last week we hosted our first-ever conference, Authority Intensive: A content marketing experience that spanned three days in Denver, Colorado. Seth Godin and Darren Rouse provided riveting keynotes about the importance of being unique and creating content that matters. Ann Handley, Lee Odden, Bryan Eisenberg, and so many others also took the stage to deliver insight and impact.

Included among those others was this week’s guest, Tom Martin, who delivered one of the most memorable of the panel presentations by making a simple point that empowered everyone in the audience to do what they really want to do. I interviewed Tom so those of you who weren’t in attendance at this year’s conference could taste the flavor of his presentation.

And yes: I got him to address those rumors of a rift between he and Brian Clark.

Last week two monumental events occurred: The 2014 NFL draft in New York City, and the inaugural Authority Intensive conference in Denver, hosted by Copyblogger. With that in mind, consider the following quotes: “Sharp and strong, electric, power of prospects over popularity.” You might think those words were uttered during the draft. You’d be wrong. They were actually tweeted by Authority Intensive attendees during the presentation of our guest this week on The Lede, Tom Martin, author of the book “The Invisible Sale” and a man who thinks slides are for chumps and that chasing clicks, not customers, is the strategy of broke-ass fools.

Has Tom recovered yet from Authority Intensive 2014?

Tom, thank you for coming on The Lede so we can set people straight on this essential idea of the importance of chasing customers, not clicks. How are you, and have you recovered from the altitude yet?

Tom Martin: I am great. I recovered pleasantly. And I never called anybody a chump, and it was broke-ass bloggers

Jerod: Ah! Broke-ass bloggers.

Tom: … was the official quote.

Jerod: That’s right. I should have known that.

Tom: No, but I was going to say is my mind has finally decompressed a little from all of the really great speakers and the content, and just the ideas. I have literally digital page after digital page of notes in my iPad. So between that, and the altitude, and the after parties, I’m finally back to normal.

Jerod: That’s good. Yeah. It takes a few days, that’s for sure.

Tom: Yes.

Are Tom and Brian Clark still friends?

Jerod: Getting back to normal myself here. Okay. So first question; this is clearly the most important one. You and Brian Clark caused quite a commotion when your Texas/Texas A&M rivalry spilled into the Q and A portion of your presentation. The rancor was palpable. Have you two patched things up?

Tom: Well, you know, as I tell Brian every time we talk: Jealousy is a terrible emotion, and I’m sorry that he went to the wrong school, but you know, he gets over it after awhile, and we left as friends, we hugged, we hugged it out at the end. It was great. We shared a beer. As Brian and I laughed about afterwards, the folks that thought there was rancor just don’t understand how men display love for one another.

Jerod: No, that is true. That is true.

A click is a sign of interest, not a sign of intent.

Jerod: Okay. So let’s get on to some serious topics here, because your presentation was, I mean, among many memorable presentations from the week, your presentation stood out. And I think a major part of that was just the simplicity of your message, which you delivered so well in the 10 minutes that you had. So I pulled a few quotes out from your presentation, and I’m going to read them, and if you would, just kind of give the listeners a brief description of what you meant so that they can get a taste of what they missed while you were talking.

So we’ll start with the most germane: “A click is a sign of interest, not a sign of intent. Don’t chase the click.”

Tom: Well, what I meant by that is that when you look at how most people are determining what content to write, where to spend their time, et cetera, the thing they go back to is their Google Analytics. And they look for what’s getting the most clicks, what’s driving me the most attention and traffic.

Unfortunately though, if that is going to then turn itself into profit in the form of sales or new clients and customers, there has to actually be intent behind that click. And quite often there’s not.

When you look in and you actually look at your conversion versus your click data, and you can track that all the way through, all the way down to an individual tweet if you want, what you start to see is that every click isn’t always symbolic of interest. It’s just “Hey, you’re giving me really great free information and so I’m happy to take that from you, but that’s where the relationship ends. I really don’t have any desire to hire you or to do business with you beyond, I just really like free stuff.”

And so the point I was trying to make was that if you get caught up in that, you end up writing a lot for your audience, which is great and makes you famous, but you don’t write enough for your prospects, which are the people that are going to make you rich. Because they actually do have intent.

And so it really can start to have all kinds of massive strategic implications that we went on to talk about throughout the talk.

Your audience will make you famous, your prospects will make you rich

Jerod: Which leads into this quote: “Your audience will make you famous, your prospects will make you rich. Me, I like rich. My wife likes rich.”

Tom: She does! I mean, you know…. No. I actually caught Hell for that one. That was kind of funny.

Jerod: I thought it was a great quote.

Tom: You know, I always tell people I’m not looking to, necessarily, own a G5 or anything. But this isn’t a hobby. I’m not in this for shits and giggles. I do what I do, the content that I create, to drive highly qualified leads to my company’s website at, and/or to the book’s website, so that that will convert and become new clients for me, and that is the only reason I do it.

I mean sure, I like to write. I like to express myself. But you know, I’m doing it with an end and the content is simply a means to that end, and you have to keep a laser focus on that. Because it gets really easy to — and I’m not above this, it happens to me as well, I think it happens to all of us — you have to really keep your ego in check because it gets really easy to go, “Oh, look! I wrote that, and everybody loved it, I’m going to go write more like that!”

Jerod: Mmm-mmm.

Tom: And it feels good to see a bunch of people retweet your stuff or to click on your stuff, or to share it. We’re all at our base emotionally driven and egocentric. And so that feels good, but man, that just can get you into all kinds of trouble. You really have to keep yourself focused on:

  • Why am I doing it?
  • What kind of content drives conversions?
  • Where does my customer come from?
  • What do they want to hear versus just “Where does my traffic come from?”

Why does Tom think he caught Hell for the “rich” comment?

Jerod: And why did you catch Hell for the rich comment? Because — I mean, going through the tweets, that sentiment was actually the one that was retweeted the most. And I think one of the big takeaways from the conference is that you’re going to generate long-term value both for yourself and for your audience when you’re creating value. You put them first. So it’s not mutually exclusive to be useful, to be audience-focused, and to make money.

Tom: Well, you always have the social media tree-huggers who just think it’s wrong to actually want to make money with this stuff. And the Hell that I caught was in the private channels, and not a ton, but a few people saying, “Oh, you know, it’s not all about the money, it’s about engagement, and you know, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda.”

But I’ve never been secretive about that. I mean, I’m a marketer. I grew up in the ad agency business. My job was to direct marketing campaigns that drive business to our clients, and I guess I bring that same mantra and mindset into the social space. And actually, I think one of the things that, on the flip side of that, that I most like is that when I did get a chance to talk to people after the talk and at the party afterwards, and so forth, I was actually pleasantly surprised at the reaction in that so many people did say, “I really loved what you had to say.” It touched an emotional point with them.

Because I was, frankly, very nervous up on the stage because I knew the message I was delivering can be, historically has been, a polarizing message in the social space because you have this whole constituency of folks who just somehow think it’s bad to try to use social media to make money. And sometimes they can be vocal. But luckily, that particular crowd — a testament to all of y’all over at Copyblogger — they were there for serious reasons. They were a serious crowd, they were there to learn how to use content and social and digital to try business. So it was well received within the Authority crowd, most certainly.

You have to give before you ask to receive

Jerod: Do you think it’s really just kind of a matter of order? And what I mean by that is that if you focus on the money first, you know, it’s not going to come. And that’s what people have a problem with. But when you focus on the audience value first, then making money not only is okay to think about, but it’ll come.

Tom: Yeah, and I think that to be successful in this space you have to give before you’re going to receive. I mean, it’s just that simple. If that’s giving advice, if that’s giving free product. That’s been a pretty common marketing ploy. That’s not a content marketing innovation. Brands have been giving free samples to induce you to test drive, or buy, or sample their product for as long as marketing’s been in existence.

We all like to claim that that’s a content marketing innovation, but it’s really not. It’s an advertising innovation that’s just been repurposed.

I think you have to have a commitment. I think that comes through. I think if you’re strictly mercenary and it’s all about the money what I think happens is, it leads you to do things where you ask for the purchase too early in the process. You jump the gun. And when you do that people run away from you. They push away.

I preach that social media marketing is really about seduction. Your goal with your content and your social approach is to be a seductress, is to be wanted. And to be asked to do business versus asking someone to do business with you.

That’s why people who are really successfully using content and social, when you talk to them about their close rates on their leads, their close rates are huge. And in fact, they’ll tell you they don’t really sell anymore. They just close. By the time they’re talking to somebody, that person’s pretty much of the mind they want to do business with them. It’s just a matter of getting a few details out of the way, agreeing on price, whatever it might be in terms, and then off it goes.

So I think if you’re out there really trying to be that seductress by really putting some value out there, you really can drive a lot of good business back your direction. Again, as long as you keep focused on not just what makes you popular, but what’s going to actually be profitable.

What is “second-click” content?

Jerod: That goes in with another quote that I want to ask you about, too, from your presentation, which is, “follow the click prevents writing second-click content.” Can you explain what you meant by that?

Tom: I’m a big proponent of a theory I call “propinquity marketing,” which is very guest-post oriented. So you’re pushing content out to other people’s platform that then drives folks back to your platform through the inclusion of anchor text.

Well, the best anchor text is always what I call “second-click” content. It’s content that you don’t write with the idea that it’s going to win first place on Google. It’s not necessarily going to be a highly-clicked piece of content on Twitter or Facebook. In fact, you don’t even necessarily write it to push it out. It’s simply content that’s designed to be that second click someone arrives at in your website, either from a guest post or from an anchor link within your own posts, that the second-click content is where you’re really trying to push someone down that funnel, where you’re really trying to say, “Hey, are you just interested? Or is there some actual intent here? Do you really want to come down this rabbit hole with me?” And you’re trying to push that down.

And that tends to be very niche-y, very specific, written for very, very tightly defined markets. And it’s there to move people one step further in the sales process, to get them to convert, to get them to reveal some readily identifiable information about themselves so that you can begin to profile them, develop a conversation and a relationship. So it’s just a different kind of content, because it’s not going to be a list post or seven reasons why you absolutely have to do something next year. It’s just really super focused, intelligent, helpful, knowledgeable type of content.

Why time is the only finite resource in the marketing toolbox

Jerod: And one more. “Time is the only finite resource in your marketing toolbox.”

Tom: Yeah. If you think about it, you can always get more money. You can always get more talent. You can go hire people that are better than you or more innovative, whatever. But time is 24 hours. That’s it. That’s all there is.

And unless you invent some space machine that alters that time/space continuum, you’ve got 24 hours in a day to get things done. And some portion of that you’re going to have to give to your family, or your significant others, or whatever. And so what you do do with the rest of it, how you spend that time, is, I believe, a huge determinant of success and failure.

If you look at some of the most successful people, not only in our space but in other spaces, and you talk to them, one of the key underlying themes you’re going to find is that those folks are incredibly well disciplined with time. They build processes, they’re disciplined about sticking to those processes, and that’s what allows them to be more prolific, produce more content, be more places, and get more done than the average bear.

Jerod: Yeah. That’s a big focus for me, personally, is getting better with time. Do you have any tips or advice, things that you’ve learned that really help you dial in your time when you have that time to work?

Tom: I would say two things.

One is if you can find a way to work, content creation let’s say, as a scheduled meeting with yourself every week, day, whatever your sequence is, and really stick to it, I find that that really helps a lot.

The other is you just have to get real with yourself. I used to say all the time that I don’t have enough time to write more blog posts, I don’t have enough time to write more content, but then last year all of a sudden I found time to write a book. I didn’t magically increase the amount of time I had available to me. My family did take a little hit. My kids, my wife agreed to me being locked in a room as opposed to with them a little more often.

But at the end of the day what it came down to was a conscious decision about — I’m going to watch less football and I’m going to write more content. And that really is what it comes down to. You just have to make that conscious agreement with yourself that you probably do waste away a lot of your time doing things that are of some value, but you could be doing more valuable things with them. And if you’ll just commit, even if it’s for short periods of time, you know, sprint for a short period, that can make an enormous difference.

I mean, in six months of sprinting I was able to write a book. That has enormous implications on my life and my business. Now I don’t have to do that as much because I did it last year. So that’s what I mean. I think really focus on prioritizing, even if it’s just for short periods of time. Really prioritizing against a goal and you can then accomplish a lot more.

Jerod: Now I hope you’ll forgive me for pointing out the obvious here, but it seems somewhat coincidental that you locked yourself in a room and stopped watching so much football the same year the Longhorns had no draftable NFL players. Any connection there?

Tom: (Chuckling) You know…

Jerod: (Chuckling) You left that wide open.

Tom: I have no comment. It was a young team.

Jerod: (Laughing)

Tom: It was a young team, it was the rebuilding year. You know, we have to let other people have some of the glory, you know. Yeah. It was not a great year to be a Longhorn football fan this year. But you know, hey, Strong’s there now. So we’re going to win strong.

Jerod: Yeah.

Tom: I’m going to get me an orange bracelet. It’s going to be “Win Strong.” It’s going to be burnt orange. I’m going to make a killing.

Jerod: Mmm-hmm.

Tom: I’ll put a landing site up using — I’m going to use my New Rainmaker software or something …

Jerod: Yes.

Tom: … to put a landing site together, to sell lots of these. You had to go there, didn’t you?

Jerod: See, you know what, though….

Tom: Did you get a bonus from Brian for doing that?

Jerod: (Laughs) I’m going to ask for one.

Tom: Is that what this is all about? Is that what this is all about?

Jerod: (Chuckling) No, you know, you just made me realize that I just wasted a good Indiana basketball season to write a book because they were so terrible last year. I could have stopped watching so many games and written a book.

Tom: How long has it been since Indiana had a good basketball season?

Jerod: Well, two years. We were #1 for awhile two years ago, but…

Tom: So you could’ve written two books, and maybe even an article!

Jerod: Yeah. (Laughs)

Tom: (Laughs)

Jerod: Yes indeed. All right.

Tom: Yeah, man.

Are Aggies and Longhorns actually more alike than they care to admit?

Jerod: This has been awesome. Let me ask you one final question here, as we close. The only two folks who took the stage last week without slides were you and Brian. Now was this, perhaps, subtle proof that Aggies and Longhorns are more alike than they care to admit?

Tom: Well, I think it just proves that Brian and I are the only ones dumb enough or lazy enough to not actually create slides. Yeah. I actually made a conscious choice not to do it. I was taught that if you’re a good speaker, you should be able to make a point without a PowerPoint. And I was glad to see that that worked. As for Brian, I just — you know, he was too busy trying to get his little Britney Spears mic to work. So that probably distracted him from any slides.

Jerod: I would like to do a future episode with you, talking about presentations. Because we’re going to do some content on Copyblogger about that at some point, so hopefully we can bring you on for another episode then and talk about your preparation process there.

Tom: Yeah, I’d love that.

Jerod: So just to close, the book. The Invisible Sale. Where’s the best place for everybody to get that? Because I know in the aftermath of your presentation there was just a stream of folks on Twitter who were running to get that book. So where can people get it?

Tom: Probably the easiest is, or you can go to and not only get the book, but you can register for the newsletter where once a week I give one actionable tip, on Sundays, that you can apply Monday to do a better job of prospecting.

Jerod: Perfect. And any upcoming speaking engagements coming up?

Tom: Yeah, my next one’s going to be in Turks and Caicos if anybody wants to join me. Nice little place. And then I’ll be doing some tourism summits this summer, Esto and DMAI, before heading out to Content Marketing World in September.

Jerod: Ah. I will see you there.

Tom: Oh, good.

Jerod: I’ll be at Content Marketing World. That’ll be fun.

Tom: Excellent. Well, maybe we’ll go get a Browns game.

Jerod: Yes! Yeah, we can go watch Johnny.

Tom: (Chuckles)

Jerod: (Chuckles) All right, Tom. Thanks a lot for your time, and it was really, really great to meet you this week, and I hope to see you soon.

Tom: Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.

Jerod: All right. Take care.

Jerod: Thank you for listening to this episode of The Lede. If you’re enjoying these episodes, please consider giving the show a rating or a review on iTunes. And don’t forget, The Lede is now on Stitcher, so you can listen to us there too. Just go to

My thanks again to Tom Martin for joining me. Look for a few more episodes like this in the future where I interview speakers from Authority Intensive. If you missed the conference, you definitely won’t want to miss these episodes. Talk to you soon, everybody.

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*Credits: Both the intro (“Bridge to Nowhere” by Sam Roberts Band) and outro songs (“Down in the Valley” by The Head and the Heart) are graciously provided by express written consent from the rights owners.